February FOCUS

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.



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This month's feature articles...

Theresa van Greunen

According to a recent 2018 GSMA Report, mobile technology is rapidly expanding around the world and emerging in all economies with over 5 billion smartphone owners. This global leap towards smart technology in recent years has prompted a shift in brand digital engagement to further reach the masses and expand into a more personal vertical and connect directly with consumers. By taking a deeper look at the most prominent social media trends and utilizing discoveries from properly executed social listening tools, brands are able to identify and understand how to continue elevating brand-presence ahead of the 2020 advances. READ MORE

Matthew Babiarz

Since the dawn of social media, hotel owners and operators have challenged their marketing executives and agencies to demonstrate ROI on the investment in engaging with them. And yet social media is outpacing advertising and public relations as a preferred way to reach customers and prospects. As platforms become more sophisticated, along with those responsible organic community management and paid initiatives, it is becoming ever more possible to prove ROI, but you have to have the right approach. This article offers insights and best practices for ensuring that social media is on target and measurable. The ROI question is solvable. READ MORE

Michael Kessler

People have always shared their experiences with one another, but in the last decade, the method of communication has completely transformed. Technology is developing fast, and hotels have to keep up to protect their reputation on social media and OTAs. Luckily, hoteliers have access to the right tools and processes that allow them to not only maintain control but thrive in this competitive environment. From responding to reviews to selecting the right online influencer, there are many things a hotelier can do right now to harness the power of social media. READ MORE

Brandon Billings

Social listening helps uncover key observations and insights based on how a visitor is talking about a destination or hotel brand across social. This firsthand social voice of traveler data is critical in not only helping set a strategic foundation but also continue to drive improvements across marketing initiatives. The following article provides a base-level understanding of social listening and service providers in the space as well as how listening data can be used to drive success for local, national and global hotel brands. READ MORE

Laura Guitar

While coronavirus is a serious health threat, the risks go beyond wellbeing – with misinformation spreading more quickly than the disease itself. The current media landscape capitalizes on public fear, and communicators must navigate ways to share important information in a way that will get through to stakeholders while clarifying the facts. In an age of click-bait, there are several key factors to consider when tackling communication around a topic as complex and fear-inducing as a new virus strain. READ MORE

Babs S. Harrison

The hot concept in 2020 hotel and resort marketing is influencers - you know you want to do it. But you also must know that there are many ways to do influencer marketing wrong. There are plenty of reasons to want to do this right - notably the popularity of social media channels (think Instagram and Facebook) and their increasing importance as places where consumers search for travel information. Which can mean inspiring pictures, for instance. Also brief, punchy write-ups that make the reader want to pack and go. Resolution for 2020: learn to succeed with influencers. READ MORE

Dean Minett

For many hoteliers, 'attending to social media' means dutifully responding to comments and guest reviews. In truth, it means far more than that. Hotels can no longer afford a languid approach to social media. A vivid presence on relevant channels – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, Google – is a basic requirement for survival in a hyper-competitive landscape. What do we stand to lose by adopting an unsuccessful strategy, or no strategy at all? By understanding the cost of mediocrity in the digital world, hotels can navigate toward better engagement and stronger balance sheets. READ MORE

Lance Concannon

Over the past decade the unstoppable rise of social media has impacted almost every industry in some way, but the hospitality business has been especially affected. Online customer reviews, real-time feedback through social channels, and the rise of travel-influencers are just a few of the side effects from social media that have had a profound effect on hospitality. But social never stands still and, for marketers in all industries, a process of constant evolution and learning is necessary in order to stay in ahead of the game and take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the channel. READ MORE

Janelle Schwartz

If managed strategically, social media can serve as an early warning system, alerting hotel managers of guest concerns and dissatisfactions before such guest discontent mushrooms to the point where it can seriously damage a hotel's reputation and eventually its profitability. To help prevent such a scenario from occurring, hotel managers can turn to technology known as social listening tools. These are applications that search the web for posts and comments about particular hotels. Once such tools are put in place, hotel managers can begin to analyze the results and then take remedial steps to quickly and effectively minimize any damage that might have occurred to the hotel. READ MORE

Peter O'Connor

Online user reviews, on TripAdvisor, Online Travel Agency sites or Google, have become incredibly influential in terms of influencing where the customer books. Most people agree that they send a clear, unbiased signal to the marketplace about the quality of the hotel, and are much appreciated by customers as a valuable and powerful input into their decision making process. However reviews also have a deeper, more hidden value. Properly analysed, reviews can give you deep and meaningful real-time insights into what is important to customers in your marketplace and your relative strengths and weaknesses compared to the competition. READ MORE

Arielle Rubenstein

A day in the life of a social media manager is anything but slow. But, it can be routine, stale, and tiresome. When that happens, a social media audit is a perfect opportunity to uncover hidden gems and rededicate your efforts to connecting with your audience. Whether you've got a dedicated social media team on-site, liaise with a contractor for social media management, employ an agency for campaign creation, or haven't touched your Facebook page in months - a social media audit can inject some inspiration and strategy into your social. For hospitality brands, there are a few specific boxes you must check to have the whole picture READ MORE

Clara Rose

With the start of a new year, customer acquisition and employee retention are both topics of conversation around many board rooms. Brands that understand the challenges are; hiring consultants to educate them, creating strategic plans to implement, or holding annual planning retreats, to find new solutions. Everyone is looking for the secret to brand loyalty. It is no longer enough to attract the ideal customer; brands must find a way to connect with them emotionally, to turn them into raving fans. Not surprising, it seems the same is true for employee retention. Staff turnover, beyond natural attrition, can be largely attributed to a lack of appreciation or a toxic culture. READ MORE

Stephanie Hilger

Once your hotel has mastered social media monitoring, it is time to take your efforts to the next level. Social media listening is a proactive approach that allows your team to analyze what others are saying about your brand and your market. Effective social media listening can improve your hotel's social media account performance and enhance your entire marketing strategy as a whole while helping your marketing team make educated decisions that yield optimal results. Investing in social listening will help your hotel be in tune with how past, present, and future/ potential customers truly feel about your brand. READ MORE

Gio Palatucci

In the world of hospitality marketing, nothing emphasizes a faster change in popularity or trends than social media. When brands strategize to secure business with a wide range of consumers, those who implement comprehensive social media strategies with newly launched, lesser-known or up-and-coming platforms are rewarded, while those sticking to traditional organic posts may earn a reputation as less hip and less accepting of a growing younger audience of travelers. Understanding the sleeping giants of social media - Reddit, Twitch, TikTok and GIPHY - will help the hospitality industry grow their social media savvy to keep and win customers in the social media age. READ MORE

Jan Sammeck

Messenger services such as WhatsApp have become deeply integrated into most people's lives, being integral tools for communication and coordination. Given the widespread use of such apps, it is time to take a closer look at the possible impact this may have on the hotel industry. This article intends to lay out possible benefits and costs for hotels that are attached to integrating messenger services into daily hotel operations: although there exists a lot of opportunity in offering messenger communication to guests, the associated risks are not to be underestimated. READ MORE

Stephanie Smith

With over 2 billion active users on Facebook, it is a mistake for hotels to not include Facebook advertisement in their marketing strategy. This article, Running Facebook Ads for Hotels, is a detailed step by step instructional guide written specifically for hotels to help even beginners to create ads. Branded hotels as well as independent hotels will learn brainstorming ideas on how to determine marketing objectives, targeting options of customers based on interests, geographic locations, and demographics, as well as budgeting for ads. After reading this article, hoteliers will know how to use Facebook ads to tap into the right audience to increase brand awareness, engagement, and direct bookings. READ MORE

Coming up in November 2020...

Hotel Design: Home Away From Home

With the rise of the sharing economy and the peer-to-peer marketplace for lodging options, hoteliers are re-thinking the look, feel and appeal of their locations. There is an emphasis on re-creating a feeling of homeyness - a comfortable, cozy and inviting space that feels like home. 'This is accomplished through the careful selection of furniture design, paint colors, lighting design, artwork, bathroom fixtures and textile accessories. In addition, some hotels are providing their guests with upscale amenities, such as a book and movie library, home-style kitchenettes, a coffee machine with locally-sourced beans and tea, or even a batch of fresh-baked cookies. Similarly, there is a growing design trend based on the concept of place-making. Travelers are searching for experiences that are unique and authentic to the locale in which they find themselves, and so hotel designers are integrating a sense of place into their work. This is partially achieved by incorporating traditional artisanal crafts and other local artwork into hotel rooms and communal spaces. Another design trend includes the creation of full-service, co-working environments within the hotel. Guests don't like to stay alone in their room when they need to work, so now they can go downstairs to the lobby-or up to the roof-to work among others. These areas encourage guests - and non-guests alike - to stay as long as they like and to partake of hotel amenities. Finally, recognizing the importance of the Wellness Movement, some designers are exploring how room design can increase the likelihood of deep and restorative sleep. Creating dark and quiet spaces, blocking excessive light, providing guests with a selection of different kinds of pillows, and the ability to control room temperature, are a few of the best practices in this area. These are some of the architecture and design topics that will be covered in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.